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 What constitutes an "interview suit" anymore?
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2008 :  10:39:08 PM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hokay, Hokay- my apology to all that thought I was calling them Bimbo's.

I just think there is appropriate footwear to coordinate with what one is wearing to an interview; whether rain,snow, or shine.

For example-snow? A pantsuit with a boot; who cares the heel height, a longer skirt with boot is fine. A short skirt with 5 inch heels? Um, not so hot.

Rain? As long as you don't care if the suede gets soaked. Keep it low heeled.

Shine? Well, open toed is not appropriate. Period. Keep those for the Niteclubs.

Always have a plan B when interviewing.

And carrying along the extra shoes in a tote? Forget it unless you are driving.

You want to arrive with the handbag, the tote, the briefcase,[ what is in that anyway?] the resume folder, and the heavy coat, the umbrella. Then, you have the scarf, the gloves, etc. Granted, they are dealt with in the reception room- but they still need to be dealt with. A lot of fuss and bother.

Bimbo was too strong of a word. But just think it thru. There are a ton of shoe options out there to project the proper image of the moment. And it IS of the moment. First image does count- before you open your mouth, whether right or wrong.

So wear it accordingly. JMO, KL
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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2008 :  8:26:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting. In Cali, open toed might be okay in full summer, its survival like the boots in mokey's winters....

It's a regional thang, I guess.

But you never know. My current boss is very kind of crunchy, wholesome, no makeup, nothing fancy, no nonsense, but yet she hired me....with my lovely coats and cashmere sweaters (got on sale) and handknit scarves and shawls, which now I workee in SF, are a constant to keep me warm on the train platform and the extremely variable office temps.

It's so hard to know what to do on an interview....which is why I go somewhat conservative, usually black pants, shoes and jacket and bright fine gauge sweater....I need some brights for my coloring....so I do it.

Kelley
Check out my solar-dyed yarns at http://www.ceallachdyes.com
and my blog at http://ceallachknits.blogspot.com
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anderknit
Permanent Resident

USA
2604 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2008 :  10:12:47 PM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A point I wanted to (gently) make is to dress your age. You always hear the advice to "dress for the job your ultimately want." Well, more important in my mind (and I have been working for over 20 years in a very conservative business) is to dress your age. The original poster said she was job hunting for the first time in 20 years. So, dress like a "mature", experienced, sophisticated woman, no matter your profession. Don't try to be too trendy, unless you are in an artsy profession, and please don't try to dress like a 20-something. For any 20-somethings out there reading, same advice - dress more maturely or conservatively than you would otherwise, but don't try to look like a 40 or 50-something matron.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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queen of the east
Seriously Hooked

Canada
877 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  09:19:58 AM  Show Profile Send queen of the east a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is alot of good advice here and the one thing I would like to add to it is about the fit of a suit. Make sure your clothes fit properly and that your jacket is the right proportion for your body. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen people wearing suit jackets that are too large or with sleeves too long or too short. Same goes for pants, nothing looks worse than saggy arsed pants or the wrong length. A bad fit can ruin the look of the most expensive clothes and a good fit can make the inexpensive look good.

Ann Blair
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sandyt
Permanent Resident

USA
3101 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  09:29:02 AM  Show Profile Send sandyt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Clothing aside, do not forget to hand write a thank you note for the interview. If the choice is between two qualified candidates, the scale is tipped to the one with the impeccable manners.
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2008 :  10:07:50 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I so agree about the "dress your age" thang!

I was getting ready for our Village Garden Club meeting yesterday.

Now, mind you I am slim, have great legs,[when covered in black tights][:00][:00], good booty, but not J Lo shaped, a current trend butt.

I donned black tights and then put on a long, turtleneck tunic- about 4-5 inches above the knees. Took a look in the mirror.

Um, I don't think so; in a room full of Retiree's. Save it for entertaining at home. Took it off, and wore a Black Mid-Calf knit dress instead.

I felt much better.

I think a good interview look; is to present ones self as Conservatively "updated".

I think Kelly has the right approach, except I think I would leave off the open toed for the interview. Put them on after you get the job. Even in Cali.

Sandy and Ann bring up great points. I don't care if the suit comes from JC Penny's or Lord and Taylor. If it doesn't fit- it just looks sloppy. Does sloppy translate into your work habits? It could be perceived as such. Take it to a good tailor and spend the bucks.

Manners? A lost art these day's. Bring back the classes on manners- and I hear it is happening in some areas.

And for God's sake, DON'T start answering every question with "Um". Or use the word "like". Awhile ago, there was a great bit on a young female trying to get a job- and never getting it. It was her body language and her use of language in answering. And she looked great.

All of the above comments present a total package. And they are all important. Are there actually people out there that go to an interview chewing gum????

Apparently. KL
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mokey
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15375 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  12:22:14 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sandyt

Clothing aside, do not forget to hand write a thank you note for the interview. If the choice is between two qualified candidates, the scale is tipped to the one with the impeccable manners.



Mail can take forever, and I wouldn't give them a sample of my handwriting. Some companies analyse it. Email is perfectly acceptable. I've been involved in hiring people for a long time, and can honestly say a hand written note makes no difference. It would end up in the recycle bin.

Far better to send an email.

Brought to you by the tongue in cheek-y monkey
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sandyt
Permanent Resident

USA
3101 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  07:00:49 AM  Show Profile Send sandyt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mokey-the info comes from DH, who has hired top level professionals in the financial industry for year-for top level positions.

Emily Post has published an excellent resource for business etiquette (sp-sorry). We gifted the book to our daughters when they reached junior year in high school. Everything from attire to table manners and all matters in between.
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  4:38:06 PM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I hate Emily Post! We read her stuff for a good laugh.

I could see for a top level position, but not regular gig. Same for unsolicited resumes. Please don't show up at our office, ignore the sign and expect to get an interview.

Brought to you by the tongue in cheek-y monkey
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  7:16:17 PM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sandy- Emily has much to be lauded for. Maybe some is archaic- but much is applicable to those that care.

Mokey, perhaps she isn't applicable in your venue; but in the long run- I ain't laughing.

What is wrong with bringing back updated conceptions of good manners?

Unsolicited resumes? How does that work these days? Just curious. Don't think I have ever heard of them.

Not all resumes are sent by request of the potential employer. I'm not understanding. KL
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sandyt
Permanent Resident

USA
3101 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  8:49:33 PM  Show Profile Send sandyt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmmm.......I agree there are different business venues. I think the business world that I'm familiar with is different. Much is lost/gained by exhibiting correctness. The form of communication must be appropriate. Email is a casual communication--it has been mistaken for formal communication on a regular basis, but, it is informal. A written, posted letter is a formal communication.






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CatherineM
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USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  9:00:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There are different business venues. If you're in a situation where your resume was solicited by email, you accordingly sent it with your cover letter via email, and a phone call or two later you show up for an interview, I don't think it is tacky to send your thank you note via email - that is the medium used throughout. In an environment that moves at a fast pace, even if you go home and write a pretty thank you note on lovely stationery right after the interview and walk right to the mailbox and send it via snail mail, it can get there after the position was filled. If they were doing business via email and you respond via snail, you don't get style points, you get dinked as someone who didn't notice how they did business. Granted, a lot of that "sense of urgency" is posturing and crap, but still, it's THEIR posturing and crap, and you need to spot it and play along.



Catherine
http://yorkiedog.blogspot.com
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sandyt
Permanent Resident

USA
3101 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2008 :  9:07:25 PM  Show Profile Send sandyt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess the positions that I'm addressing are the ones that serious candidates are considered over a period of days after the completion of all of the interviews. There is that business venue. Notes should be posted the same day and will arrive within a day or two. There isn't really a substitute. If someone has scheduled the time to interview a prospective candidate, they should be shown the respect of a formal thank you.

A pretty note??? Huh?? Formal note card in white or off-white, plain envelope, neat handwriting. That's it. A stamp. A few sentences. No more.
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kdcrowley
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USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  2:49:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In my recent search, my search was all done via email and online. I do not send a resume to a company unsolicited, because they all want to know what position you are looking for, unless you know that they are doing keyword searches. And I ask you, if you are looking for a job, what good does it do to send your resume to a company that does not have open positions? And to be perfectly honest, I don't do cover letters really anymore....they get binned, and have not seemed to matter in the long run.

My new company, I put in my resume to the engine, but also applied for a position, they called me the next day and it was less than a month to offer. I did all of my thank yous by email. Same thing with the Russian mafia, all by phone and email. The point is to express that you are still interested after the interview.

As for serious candidates being considered over a period of days, well, that is optimistic, I think that they are considered over the whole period as part of the process of weighing and considering, I don't think it's linear at all. And I think that days may be appropriate at a certain level, but realistically, it is usually more of a weeks or months timeline at the higher levels, unless a company is motivated to fill, and then there will be other considerations.

Anyway, the rules are really more of a guideline, and all career advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Someone told me that I should not negotiate the salary on my most recent offer, which I did not follow. Good thing, because I got an extra 5% salary, which might be more than my next raise, and that amount will affect how much I can contribute to my 401k, my bonus calculations, my raise calculations and other benefits, like the life insurance for my family. Why not try? The advice by the way was that if I countered, they would retract the offer, as opposed to counter the counter....which is ridiculous, they are usually expecting to be countered and don't make their best offer off the bat. Of course, Mickey D's aint gonna negotiate for the fry cook job, but I bet that they do for the managers.....It all has to do with where you are.

Kelley
Check out my solar-dyed yarns at http://www.ceallachdyes.com
and my blog at http://ceallachknits.blogspot.com
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knottyknitter
Permanent Resident

USA
3702 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  3:58:24 PM  Show Profile Send knottyknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mokey

I hate Emily Post! We read her stuff for a good laugh.

I could see for a top level position, but not regular gig. Same for unsolicited resumes. Please don't show up at our office, ignore the sign and expect to get an interview.

Brought to you by the tongue in cheek-y monkey
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We actually got a lot of entertainment out of the last handwritten notes we received from a candidate after the intervew (we do a group peer interview at my work). It was obvious that he had mailed them on his way out the door from the interview, based on how quickly we got them. I wondered if he had pre-written them! All they did was show us that he was too desperite actually. I agree - an e-mail note for most position is just as good. Especially in a technology position, such as the one the OP is going for (engineer - I believe?) The only time in recent years that a handwritten note has made a positive impression is after we interviewed for an in house graphic designer, one candidate sent notes that were written on very obviously hand-crafted note cards. Since we were hiring a designer, this was impressive - and helped us see a little bit more of her creative personality. She even spelled my name incorrectly on mine, but it didn't matter (we weren't hiring a copy writer!). She got the job. But all other positions - hand written or e-mailed - makes no difference. And Mokey is right, some companies do handwriting analysis. I worked part time for a small company years ago who routinely did that for new office employees! Yikes!

http://blog.kittyknitter.com
My blog at Kitty's Knitterbox
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  5:22:54 PM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting. I emailed brief thank-you notes to the main people I met with for the job I interviewed for in December (my adviser said it was fine to email short notes, and my experience is that university mail systems can delay items for a surprisingly long period of time) but even if I had sent the letters snail-mail it would never have occurred to me to hand-write them. I would have printed them out on letterhead, the same way I did my cover letters. Is hand-writing normal for some sorts of positions? I don't inflict my handwriting on people if I can help it!

What alarms me is that empirically, handwriting analysis is pretty much useless. You may as well ask for the candidate's birthdate and draw up a horoscope!
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CatherineM
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USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  6:56:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message  Reply with Quote
KD saved me a lot of typing. I agree that in the interview process it's non-linear, and when I was the person doing the hiring the last time around, I really didn't read or care about cover letters. If you send one, it should be short and sweet, a professionally phrased: I'm applying for this job. I have (name a couple of your basic qualifications in ten words or less) skills. Looking forward to discussing with you...blah blah, yadda yadda, whatever, they've stopped reading by that point. Ditto thank you notes - yes, it's a nice touch and it shows good follow through, but if you sent your resume via email and emailed me later to say thanks for the interview, that's fine.

And on the salary negotiation - research the market and know what you want, and hold firm - I negotiated my last employer upward over $10k by politely but bluntly telling the HR guy he was lowballing for that particular position, and I'd be happy to direct him to people who could confirm this. My attitude is, if they retract the offer because they don't want to pay you a fair salary for your position, exactly why is this a bad thing?

And this may be regional, but I have learned that in this market you have to negotiate a good number going in the door, because there ain't no annual raises to count on no more. The last two employers did every other year increases - and no, not just for me, that was their official policy. And 3% was the max across the board for one of them. (Of course if you are the head of the division your 3% is a lot bigger than your minions.) A 3% raise every other year doesn't even keep up with the cost of living - which is why I left that place and aggressively negotiated my next salary. So you don't want to settle for a smaller salary going in the door anticipating that you will "catch up" later. You might, you might not.

So Says the Unemployed One in Floriduh, who is hating the market here and planning to move as soon as she can unload this house.

Catherine
http://yorkiedog.blogspot.com
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Punctuatedknitter
Seriously Hooked

819 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  7:50:13 PM  Show Profile Send Punctuatedknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I find it interesting that cover letters in some businesses are basically useless. I think for most academic positions (professorships) they are very important. It is very interesting hearing about the cultural differences between fields.
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CatherineM
Permanent Resident

USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  7:53:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sandyt

I guess the positions that I'm addressing are the ones that serious candidates are considered over a period of days after the completion of all of the interviews. There is that business venue. Notes should be posted the same day and will arrive within a day or two. There isn't really a substitute. If someone has scheduled the time to interview a prospective candidate, they should be shown the respect of a formal thank you.

A pretty note??? Huh?? Formal note card in white or off-white, plain envelope, neat handwriting. That's it. A stamp. A few sentences. No more.




Oh no, you mean I should throw out the scented pink stationery? (nod to "Legally Blonde" there). There really is a substitute in most industries. I don't know all industries, obviously, I've only hired regionally for specific positions in two big corporations and one regional privately held building company, so I don't hold myself out as the bottom line by any means. But I do think depends on how the job prospect came to you. If a headhunter hooked me up and all of my interaction with the prospective employer was formal, I'd send a handwritten note on a plain white note card, let them analyze my handwriting, if they are that crazy I'd like to screen them too.

If I found it myself via an online search, and we communicated via email all along, email is the mode of communication and there is no reason to change it. Emily Post may still be great for weddings, but a lot of business communication has gone to email and there is no reason to ignore this to be "proper." Proper can backfire as stuffy. You have to feel your way through this stuff, and also realize that if it's that damn hard to negotiate the corporate culture, you may not want to be part of it.

Catherine
http://yorkiedog.blogspot.com
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CatherineM
Permanent Resident

USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2008 :  8:02:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Punctuatedknitter

I find it interesting that cover letters in some businesses are basically useless. I think for most academic positions (professorships) they are very important. It is very interesting hearing about the cultural differences between fields.



I think so much of this advice is specific to the business culture and also regional. I can't imagine anyone taking off points for wearing open toed shoes to a job interview in Florida (unless you are a man, they are pretty much not allowed to show toes until they are on the payroll.) You do have to know the culture you're entering, and if in doubt, that is how headhunters and agencies earn their keep.

Catherine
http://yorkiedog.blogspot.com
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